Vote 2010: Suspicions of buying Roma votes in Prešov region are raised by not confirmed

Suspicions of Roma votes being bought in Prešov region’s villages of Žehna and Lemešany on Saturday afternoon are being investigated. The head of the district election commission in Prešov, Radovan Novotný, said that they had received notifications about the occurrences from members of precinct commissions in those two villages via telephone, the SITA newswire reported. The police, however, have not confirmed the allegations.

Suspicions of Roma votes being bought in Prešov region’s villages of Žehna and Lemešany on Saturday afternoon are being investigated. The head of the district election commission in Prešov, Radovan Novotný, said that they had received notifications about the occurrences from members of precinct commissions in those two villages via telephone, the SITA newswire reported. The police, however, have not confirmed the allegations.

The deputy chairman of the election commission called from Žehna and said that they had heard reports from voters that people from the Most-Hid party reportedly were in the village and were contacting Roma citizens. They allegedly offered citizens €5 per vote. Roma were asked to bring the remaining blank ballots as evidence from the polling station as to how they voted, SITA reported.

The chairman of the Lemešany precinct commission reported a similar suspicion to the district commission. He said he was informed that Most-Hid representatives were buying Roma votes for coffee and cash. He failed, however, to elaborate on the offered sum, SITA wrote.

Novotný said, as reported by SITA, that they had sent two members of the district commission to both villages accompanied by police officers but that no evidence to support the suspicions was confirmed in either of the villages. The notifications will be officially registered.

The Prešov regional chairman of Most-Hid, Marian Straka, said that the party distances itself from buying Roma votes. He appealed against the use of such practices and rejected their use in any elections, SITA reported.

There were reported cases of Roma vote-buying in Slovakia's elections for regional parliaments and presidents last November and similar allegations occurred in the first and second rounds of the presidential elections held in March and April.

Source: SITA

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